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Nature’s time Capsule|AMBER

2017-08-29 Source:www.GIA.com

Amber is nature’s time capsule. This fossilized tree resin contains remnants of life on earth millions of years ago.
Amber Description
Rough amber sometimes contains assorted plant and insect inclusions. Many are even visible without magnification.
Amber is an organic gem. Organic gems are the products of living or once-living organisms and biological processes. Amber formed tens of millions of years ago, when sap from ancient trees hardened and fossilized.
Amber comes in a variety of colors. The most familiar ones are yellow to orange, while a reddish color is rare. This group includes cloudy amber, reddish amber from Myanmar, amber with stress fractures, and pale, almost opaque, amber. - Alan Jobbins
Scientists and collectors treasure amber that contains suspended animal or plant fragments. These fossilized bits of once-living things were trapped in the hardening amber, creating a fascinating time capsule.
Some types of amber are found in the ground. Other types have been freed and carried by tides, ending up on beaches or near-shore areas. The Baltic coast bordering Germany, Poland, and Russia is still an important source of amber.
Gas bubbles are very common amber inclusions. If there are a lot of them, they can give the material a cloudy appearance.
Amber is sometimes called “gold of the North.” Its warm luster is featured in beads, carvings, pendants, and cabochons, as well as decorative items like cups, bowls, snuff boxes, and umbrella handles.
A related material, called copal, is also fossilized tree resin, but it’s far younger than amber, at less than a million years old.
Like amber, copal is fossilized tree resin, but it is not as old. Amber must be over a million years old, while copal is younger—often around a hundred thousand years old.
OVERVIEW

1.The oldest amber dates to the Upper Carboniferous Period(approximately 320 million years ago).

2.The Amber Room, a 1716 gift presented to Russia’s Peter the Great, was made from six tons of amber.

3. 1,000 extinct animal species as well as various types of plant matter have been identified in amber.

QUALITY  FACTORS

Assessment of the following characteristics determines amber’s value.
·      COLOR

Amber comes in more colors than “amber.” Rare pieces can even be blue or green.
·      CLARITY
Amber with insect or plant inclusions is much more valuable than amber with none.
·      CUT
Most amber is polished in free-form shapes, cabochons or beads.
·      CARAT WEIGHT
Amber is surprisingly light: in fact, it will float in a saturated salt solution.
WHY WE LOVE THIS GEMSTONE?
INTERESTING INCLUSIONS
With inclusions like insects, lizards, leaves, flowers, and feathers, amber helps scientists study ancient ecosystems.
JURASSIC GEM
Although the movie Jurassic Park is fiction, scientists extracted DNA from insects enclosed in 120-million year old amber.
FRAGRANT
Amber smells good when you rub it. Although an oil made from burned amber was used in scents in ancient times, it isn’t used in perfume today.

 
Source: Article and picture finished from the GIA official website. 

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